Diabetics May Get Needle Relief

It's estimated 16 million Americans have diabetes. Managing the disease is crucial to preventing serious health complications.

And Dr. Emily Senay reports for The Early Show on some methods under development to test blood sugar.

The GlucoWatch looks like a wristwatch, and for diabetics, it could be time to end the finger pricking.

It's a device that diabetics wear on their wrists to monitor blood sugar levels.

A study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association found it accurately measured high and low glucose levels.

The GlucoWatch works by measuring blood sugar levels through the skin. It takes continuous measurements and can even sound an alarm if sugar levels are too high or too low.

It's made by Cygnus Inc. and the FDA advisory panel will meet next month regarding an application for approval.

If approved, it could be on the market as early as next spring. The company estimates the cost for the watch to be about $300 and a sensor will cost $4 per day.

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Susan Siegel has been living with type 1 diabetes since she was a teen-ager.

"It's been difficult; there's a lot of rituals with diabetes, with syringes and vials of insulin, and the blood tests," she says.

Her callous fingertips show the years of drawing blood to monitor her sugar levels.

"It's hard to do this; it's really difficult to draw your own blood. People don't like needles; they don't like sticking themselves. I do it because, I know for me, I can't do it any other way. I need to know what those numbers are," she notes.

But there may soon be yet another way.

The TD Glucose Monitoring System is a patch-like device currently in clinical trials.

The TD Glucose Monitoring System is a patch-like device currently in clinical trials.

It's a painless, bloodless method that uses a meter to measure blood sugar levels through the skin.

"We know that better sugars prevent complications, so I think that there's no question that helping people to test more would help them to have less diabetic complications," says Siegel's doctor, Zachary Bloomgarden.

And as Siegel has learned, better testing means a better life.

"When your blood sugars are out of control, so is your life. You don't feel god. And, it's really difficult when you're not feeling well to really move forward with your life," she points out.

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The Glucose Monitoring System is made by Technical Chemicals and Products Inc., and the company plans to present the results of the trials to the FDA next year.

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